As you prepare your small business for greater success in the coming year, be sure to take a look through trendspotting company JWT’s list of 100 Things to Watch for 2013. While you’ll want to peruse the whole list at leisure, here are a few that stood out to us as of interest to business owners:
- Allergen-free foods: JWT cites a 2011 study showing that as many as 1 in 12 American children may have a food allergy. That’s twice as high as previously believed. In 2013, JWT predicts that “allergen-free” will become as ubiquitous as gluten-free, with more food manufacturers, restaurants and retailers devoting themselves to allergy-free meals and snacks.
- Ambushed by Amazon: Is Amazon today’s Wal-Mart or Barnes & Noble? Like those mass merchants before it, the ecommerce giant is threatening to run all types of independent retailers out of town. With same-day delivery currently being tested in some cities, its Amazon Flow app that shows shoppers in your store how much the same product costs on Amazon, and everything from luxury jewelry to food for sale, Amazon is a major “disruptor” that retailers and etailers will have to take into account. Latest news? It’s reportedly considering opening brick-and-mortar stores
- Appcessories: Accessories are taking on high-tech functionality, turning into “appcessories.” Whether it’s smart eyeglasses, wristwatches or wristbands that integrate with tech toys, or even gloves and socks with RFID tags or embedded microphones, companies are creating dozens of ways for consumers to integrate technology into their clothing and accessories.
- Coaching brands: Companies now have the ability to gather unheard-of reams of data about their customers. In 2013, they’ll increasingly use that data to “coach” their customers on how to do things better, provide personalized recommendations for products and services, and otherwise provide customized assistance to help clients improve their lives.
- Hyper-personalized customer service: In a closely related trend, businesses in some industries are using information about customers to provide extremely personalized service. For example, restaurants can log details about customer preferences and then provide “the usual” cocktail or a gluten-free menu without the person even having to ask. As technology enables bigger companies to provide the kind of personal touch that used to belong to small companies, your firm will have to find new ways to keep pace.
- Dads in the aisles: With women working outside the home and the number of stay-at-home dads multiplying, more marketers that used to focus on moms will need to include dad as well. Whether you sell cleaning supplies, household products and décor, children’s clothing or food, you will need to market to men and take into account how they like to shop, buy and spend.
Read the full report for 94 more thought-provoking trends.
Image by Flickr user Steve Bowbrick (Creative Commons)